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Can we overreact to Jonah Bolden's Summer League debut yet?
Jonah Bolden's first game in the Utah Summer League was pretty impressive, to say the least. Are we ready to call him the steal of the draft yet?
He ended the night with 9 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and here's the best part: 4 nasty, nasty blocks against the Boston Celtics.
Sure, there are flaws to pick at. His shot selection wasn't the best, he settled for jumpers a little too readily. He committed six personal fouls. He drifted around no man's land at times on the half court; he wasn't establishing offensive rebounding position or getting himself ready to catch the pass.
Let's be honest here. Did you really expect a rookie, who was picked 36th, to show up as a perfectly polished product?
Bolden showed fans just how underrated he was in the draft, with his performance in this game, and the flashes of potential that lie in wait.
Sixers head coach, Brett Brown spoke to The Daily Telegraph about the competitiveness he saw in Jonah, the same kind he saw in Bruce Bolden long ago.
“I see a different type of player in Jonah in relation to his skillset, but I see a similarity to the way that he approaches the game," Brown commented.
“Bruce was amazing in regards to his tenacity and his competitiveness. It was also his ability to chase balls down. He was just a real memorable type of player that achieved a lot during my time coaching in the NBL.
“I think Jonah gets after it just like his father did and that’s something I’m looking for in a player.”
Bolden definitely displayed tenacity and competitiveness on the defensive end, showing solid defensive instincts and aggressively challenging shots at the rim.
His athleticism and energy was on full display, especially when he caught up in transition during the third quarter, and made a put-back dunk right off Markelle Fultz's miss. He was confident in his shots, even when they were not falling.
But obviously, those four blocks were the highlight of Bolden's debut, he was swatting layups like his life depended on them. You could say, they were a byproduct of his commitment to defence.
"One of the things I wanted to prove and show was my defensive versatility," Bolden said, when Sixers.com's Brian Seltzer asked about his defensive plays.
"Just my activity on the defensive end, being able to switch one through five and I did play a lot of five today... just my energy and my activity and what I can do to help on the defensive end."
Could Bolden turn out to be an ideal stretch five in the NBA, especially if his shots start falling? Is he Channing Frye with a turbo switch? Is he ready to start finger wagging, Mutombo-style yet? Did Philly nab the steal of this year's draft by picking Bolden?
It's too early to tell. For now, let's just celebrate the block party Bolden brought to this game, and look forward to the next one.